• 11Jan

    New US website helps patients navigate complex medical decisions

    A new patient-friendly online resource called PREPARE has been developed to help people make complex medical decisions.

    The PREPARE website – developed by researchers from the UCSF-affiliated San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC), UCSF and the Veterans Health Research Institute (NCIRE) – incorporates content identified in new research to address key patient identified aspects of preparing for advance care planning and decision-making. The site provides concrete examples through videos and other mechanisms on how to identify what is most important in life, how to communicate that with family and friends and doctors, and how to make informed medical decisions.

    The website’s audio-visual interface is tailored to typically underserved populations (including users with low health or computer literacy and/or visual or hearing impairment) and aims to incorporate a patient-centered, comprehensive and manageable approach. The PREPARE website is written at a fifth-grade reading level, and includes voiceovers of all text, closed-captioning for the hearing impaired, and large font for the visually impaired. In preliminary pilot testing, older adults from diverse backgrounds rated PREPARE a nine out of a 10-point scale for ease of use.

    Developers said “We wanted to make the website free and easy-to-use by everyone,” she said. “We made sure to take advice given to us by patients and surrogates. The site doesn’t merely ask people to do advance care planning, but actually shows people, through videos and a step-by-step process, how to actually have the conversation and make informed medical decisions.”